Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

it, and urged the adoption of the propositions of the Peace Conference in preference to his own. Mr. Mason, of Virginia, opposed the resolutions of the Peace Conference, on the ground that it would not satisfy the South. Mr. Baker, of Oregon, advocated it. Mr. Green, of Missouri, opposed it as surren-. dering every Southern principle, in which he was seconded by Mr. Lane, of Oregon.

At this stage of the proceedings Mr. Douglas gave a new turn to the form of the proceedings of the Senate, by moving to take up the resolution adopted by the House to amend the Constitution so as to prohibit forever any interference with slavery in the States. This motion was carried. Mr. Pugh moved to amend by substituting for this resolution the resolutions of Mr. Crittenden. This was rejected—ayes 14, noes 25. Mr. Brigham, of Michigan, next moved to substitute a resolution against any amendment of the Constitution, and in favor of enforcing the laws. This was rejected—ayes 13, noes 25. Mr. Grimes, of Iowa, then moved to substitute the resolution of Messrs. Seward and Trumbull, as the minority of the Select Committee, calling on the State Legislatures to express their will in regard to calling a Convention to amend the Constitution. This was rejected—ayes 14, noes 25. The propositions of the Peace Conference were then moved by Mr. Johnson, of Arkansas, and rejected—ayes 3, noes 34. Mr. Crittenden's resolutions were then taken up, and lost by the following vote:

AYES.-Messrs. Bayard, Bright, Bigler, Crittenden, Douglas, Gwin, Hunter, Johnson of Tenn., Kennedy, Lane, Latham, Mason, Nicholson, Polk, Pugh, Rice, Sebastian, Thomson, and Wigfall—19. · Noes.—Messrs. Anthony, Bingham, Chandler, Clark, Dixon, Doolittle, Durkee, Fessenden, Foote, Foster, Grimes, Harlan, King, Morrill, Sumner, Ten Eyck, Trumbull, Wade, Wilkinson, and Wilson-20.

The resolutions were thus lost in consequence of the withdrawal of Senators froin the disaffected States. The question was then taken on the House resolution to amend the Constitution so as to prohibit forever any amendment of the Constitution interfering with slavery in any State, and the resolution was adopted by a two-thirds vote-ayes 24, nays

12.

This closed the action of Congress upon this important subject. It was strongly Republican in both branches, yet it had done every thing consistent with its sense of justice and fidelity to the Constitution to disarm the apprehensions of tho Southern States, and to remove all provocation for their resistance to the incoming administration. It had given tho strongest possible pledge that it had no intention of interfering with slavery in any State, by amending the Constitution so as to make such interference forever impossible. It created governments for three new Territories, Nevada, Dakotah, and Colorado, and passed no law excluding slavery from any one of them. It had severely censured the legislation of some of the Northern States intended to hinder the recovery of fugitives from labor; and in response to its expressed wishes, Rhode Island repealed its laws of that character, and Verinont, Maine, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin, had the subject under consideration, and were ready to take similar action. Yet all this bad no effect whatever in changing or checking the secession movement in the Southern States.

CHAPTER II.

FROM SPRINGFIELD TO WASHINGTON.

From the date of his election, Mr. LINCOLN maintained silence on the affairs of the country. The government was to remain for three months longer in the hands of Mr. Buchanan, and the new President did not deem it becoming or proper for him to interfere, in any way, with the regular discharge of its duties and responsibilities. On the 11th of February, 1861, he left his home in Springfield, Illinois, accompanied to the railroad dépôt by a large concourse of his friends and neighbors, whom he bade farewell in the following words:

MY FRIENDS: No one not in my position can appreciate the sadness I feel at this parting. To this people I owe all that I am. Here I have lived more than a quarter of a century; here my children were born, and here one of them lies buried. I know not how soon I shall see you again. A duty devolves upon me which is, perhaps, greater than that which has devolved upon any other man since the days of WASHINGTON. He never would have succeeded except for the aid of Divine Providence, upon which he at all times relied. I feel that I cannot succeed without the same Divine aid which sustained him, and on the same Almighty Being I place my reliance for support, and I hope you, my friends, will all pray that I may receive that Divine assistance, without which I cannot succeed, but with which, success is certain. Again I bid you all an affectionate farewell.

As the train passed through the country the President was greeted with hearty cheers and good wishes by the thousands who assembled at the railway stations along the route. Party spirit seemed to have been forgotten, and the cheers were always given for “ Lincoln and the Constitution.” At Tolono

he appeared upon the platform, and in response to the applause which hailed his appearance, he said:

I am leaving you on an errand of national importanco, attended, as you are aware, with considerable difficulties. Let us believe, as some poet has expressed it, “ Behind the cloud the sun is still shining." I bia you an affectionate farewell.

At Indianapolis the party was welcomed by a salute of thirty-four guns, and the President-elect was received by the Governor of the State in person, and escorted to a carriage in waiting, which proceeded—followed by a procession of the members of both Houses of the Legislature, the municipal authorities, the military, and firemen-to the Bates House. Appearing on the balcony of this hotel, Mr. Lincoln was greeted by the hearty applause of the large crowd which had assembled in the street, to which he addressed the following remarks:

Gov. Morton and Fellow-Citizens of the State of Indiana :

Most heartily do I thank you for this magnificent reception, and while I cannot take to myself any share of the compliment thus paid, more than that which pertains to a mere instrument, an accidental instrument, perhaps I should say, of a great cause, I yet must look upon it as a most magnificent reception, and as such, most heartily do thank you for it. You have been pleased to address yourself to me chiefly in behalf of this glorious Union in which we live, in all of which you have my hearty sympathy, and, as far as may be within my power, will have, one and inseparably, my hearty consideration; while I do not expect, upon this occasion, or until I get to Washington, to attempt any lengthy speech, I will only say to the salvation of the Union there needs but one single thing, the hearts of a people like yours. [Applause.]

The people, when they rise in mass in behalf of the Union and the liberties of their country, truly may it be said, “The gates of hell cannot prevail against them.” [Renewed applause.] In all trying positions in which I shall be placed, and, doubtless, I shall be placed in many such, my reliance will be placed upon you and the people of the United States; and I wish you to remember, now and forever, that it is your business, and not mine ; that if the union of these States, and the lib

erties of this people shall be lost, it is but little to any one man of fiftytwo years of age, but a great deal to the thirty millions of people who inhabit these United States, and to their posterity in all coming time. It is your business to rise up and preserve the Union and liberty for yourselves, and not for me.

I desire they should be constitutionally performed. I, as alrendy intimated, am but an accidental instrument, temporary, and to serve but for a limited time, and I appeal to you again to constantly bear in mind that with you, and not with politicians, not with Presidents, not with office-seekers, but with you, is the question, Shall the Union and shall the liberties of this country be preserved to the latest generations ? [Cheers.]

In the evening the members of the Legislature waited upon him in a body at his hotel, where one of their number, on behalf of the whole, and in presence of a very large assemblage of the citizens of the place, made a brief address of welcome and congratulation, which Mr. Lincoln acknowledged in the following terms:

FELLOW-CITIZENS OF THE STATE OF INDIANA: I am here to thank you. much for this magnificent welcome, and still more for the generous support given by your State to that political cause which I think is the true and just cause of the whole country and the whole world.

Solomon says there is "a time to keep silence," and when men wrangle by the mouth with no certainty that they mean the same thing, while

using the same word, it perhaps were as well if they would keep silence, ✓ The words “coercion” and “invasion” are much used in these days,

and often with some temper and hot blood. Let us make sure, if we can, that we do not misunderstand the meaning of those who use them. Let us get exact definitions of these words, not from dictionaries, but from the men themselves, who certainly depreciate the things they would represent by the use of words. What, then, is “Coercion ?" What is "Invasion ?" Would the marching of an army into South Carolina, without the consent of her people, and with hostile intent towards them; be "invasion ?" I certainly think it would; and it would be "coercion” also if the South Carolinians were forced to submit. But if the United States should merely hold and retake its own forts and other property, and collect the duties on foreign importations, or even withhold the mails from places where they were habitually violated, would any or all

« AnteriorContinuar »